Irène Paris: Classic French style redesigned with eye-catching artistic flair
Known for being one of the most stylish nations in the world, few countries know fashion quite like France. With a reputation for chic and understated designs and versatile capsule wardrobes, it has long been a source of inspiration for some of the world’s most renowned designers and fashionistas alike – but whilst pared down style is still very much the order of the day, French fashion is becoming more exciting by the day.
One of the country’s most up-and-coming designers is Anastasia Zimikhina, founder of hotly anticipated accessory brand, Irène Paris – who has been making waves with her modern and unique range of scarves, shawls and stoles thanks to her unique and spectacularly artistic designs.
You could say that Anastasia was born to be a designer; as a child, she could often be found tucked into a quiet corner with a pencil and paper, drawing until her heart’s content, and although at that age, fashion wasn’t yet on her radar, she always knew that she’d be an artist of some kind.
“My parents noticed that I had potential and so they signed me up for art school, and I loved it so much that I went on to study at the Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design – one of the most prestigious colleges in Russia,” she says.
So where does France come into it all, you might wonder? Anastasia explains: “After university, I moved to Paris to attend the Ecole Supèrieure des Arts Décoratifs, and it was there that I discovered my passion for fashion design. Up until that point, I’d always been focused on drawing and painting, so I was delighted to realise that I could apply my skills in such an exciting career.”
Since then, things have really taken off for Anastasia, and the launch of Irene Paris signaled the arrival of a beautiful range of colourful scarves that has become a collection coveted across the country. Inspired by the Greek goddess Eirene – a daughter of Zeus and Themis, its name symbolises peace, with each item influenced by the elements – as well as, Anastasia tell us, “life itself”. Whether it’s a colour palette used to create a beautiful painting, a touching piece of music – or even her own emotions, nothing about her designs is by chance – making for an exciting and unpredictable range of accessories that are the perfect statement addition to any well-chosen wardrobe.
Not one who is afraid to experiment with colour thanks to her artistic background, this is apparent in her bright and eye-catching designs, and her scarves are adorned with all manner of mythical creature – think weird and wonderful fish-tiger and butterfly-elephant hybrids. They might sound unusual, but Anastasias interpretations of these creatures are truly a thing of beauty – and the perfect way to finish off a simple and understated outfit with some extra-stylish flair.
The Carré Royal luxury scarf collection has proven to be particularly successful; featuring a range of exquisite pieces made from the finest, softest, hand-rolled silk. The epitome of luxury in just one accessory, there are some included in each Irène Paris collection – always in-keeping with the themes that run throughout.
More recently, Anastasia has extended her range to include accessories for men, adding a selection of stylish men’s scarves – and her plan is to pursue this avenue further to create a broader selection for them to choose from.
Next on the agenda for Anastasia is a new range of t-shirts – a project that is already well underway.
“First, you print the textile and then you sew the garment. This allows you to have the print all over it. We worked hard on perfecting the cut of our t-shirts in order to ensure they were comfortable to wear, and we added a beautiful plunging neckline, which we really love.”
The inspiration for her new range of garments came to Anastasia when she was working on illustrations for a novel by French author, Max Milan. The novel is about a dancer who walked on roofs in Paris at night, and she associated this heroine with an angel – and so the design featuring angel wings was born.
“The collection is called “Paradis,” and it consists of seven original prints. The moto of the collection is: “7 printed t-shirts for 7 messages of happiness”, meaning that I believe that every t-shirt from this collection will be a lucky charm for its owner.”
It’s been an exciting time for Irène Paris, and Anastasia has no plans to slow down. The brand is gaining greater recognition by the day, but it’s happy customers that make her world go round.
“It gives me great joy seeing people wearing our creations, and the fact that they enjoy doing so is more than I could ask for. This is what I want to pursue, and I have many ideas for some exciting collaborative projects as well as individual. There are some exciting things coming for, Irène Paris, so watch this space!”
Images used in this piece:
© Irina Verdier
© Jérôme Pannetier